Call Us on: +33 (0)4 89 05 06 60 (France) or +44 (0)161 471 1009 (UK)

10 step buyers guide

Garre SNCF Thiers
Like buying property anywhere in the world, purchasing an apartment or villa in Nice follows a straightforward chain of events. Over a million foreigners have bought real estate in France over the last decade, so it can’t be that difficult, can it? Indeed, we have many testimonials from happy clients who have purchased property from Nice Pebbles over the past few years. Their experiences may make the process a little clearer for you.

These 10 steps should guide you to your apartment or villa for sale in Nice. In another area of the website, we’ve also aimed to dispel any myths about French property from ‘our friend‘ too.

1) Familiarise yourself with the local property market. Our Nice property pages are updated almost daily with new apartments and villas currently for sale across Nice. Reading our area guides about Massena, the Old Town, Port, Musiciens, Carré d’Or, Mont Boron, Cimiez and Fabron – then clicking through to see the properties we have for sale in each zone – will give you an excellent idea of what’s on offer and at what price.

2) Contact us. If you email, call or drop by in person we can discuss your exact needs. We find that personal contact really helps and our team of five sales staff are ready to answer your queries about any aspect of buying property in Nice. By subscribing to our Nice Property Twitter feed, we can also inform you about new apartments and villas in Nice, new transport routes, sales trends and local property news.

3) If you’re considering financing your purchase with a mortgage, it might be time to read our French mortgage guide and contact our independent mortgage advisor, Peter Brooke. Rates in France are historically low at present. Learning what you can borrow now will make your Nice property search much clearer when you tour around our properties for sale in Nice.

4) Come and see us! As well as the beautiful apartments and villas currently listed on our website, we are also members of FNAIM’s Multi Listings System, so we have access to over 80% of properties currently for sale in Nice. That’s right, if you see a property for sale on another agency’s website then tell us and we will arrange a viewing with them on your behalf. We routinely show around six perfect properties to our clients in a day’s viewing. We can also answer any further questions about renovation and rental returns, as well as sharing the experiences of our clients who have purchased similar properties in Nice.

5) If you see the right property, it is time to make a non-binding offer to the vendor. We will discuss the offer with you, and then make it on your behalf. It is illegal in France for a vendor to refuse an asking price offer (except in the instance where a competing buyer is also offering the asking price, or more, simultaneously) so negotiating for a better deal is often on the cards.

6) With the price agreed, it’s time to sign the Compromis de Vente. This is the initial sales document that is prepared by a Notaire or registered real estate agent and that lists your name, address and the property that you intend to purchase, plus details of the transaction. It is signed by both the buyer and vendor, and can initially be done in person, by fax, by post or by scanning the signed document and attaching it to an email. If you are not in Nice the compromis will be sent to you via email for you to sign and return to us via express courier (DHL, UPS or Fedex). The Compromis de Vente gives the buyer (but not the vendor) a seven-day grace period to reflect upon your property in Nice purchase. If you change your mind during this time you may walk away from the deal having lost nothing.

7) Appoint a Notaire, or notary, to act as your solicitor throughout the purchase process. We have a list of efficient English-speaking Notaires who we recommend to our property buyers in Nice. These government-sanctioned property lawyers handle any debt searches, building checks and conveyance issues on your property. Their fees are fixed by the French government at around 8% of the property price, a sum only payable upon purchase. You don’t pay the same sum again when you come to sell the place! And at Nice Pebbles, all of our estate agency fees are paid by the vendor. We don’t charge you a single penny, cent or centime for our services.

8) Send the deposit. If you’re just as delighted with your purchase after your seven-day reflection period, it’s time to deposit a sum, normally 10% of the purchase price, into the Notaire’s escrow account. These accounts are government controlled and the money is transferred to the vendor only on completion of the purchase. You may send a deposit from your local bank abroad, in the form of a cheque drawn from your French bank, using a money transfer service like World First or via online banking if you have that facility. If the vendor backs out of the purchase now, they will have to refund your deposit, plus an additional sum equal to the value of the deposit. In addition, if you fail to obtain your mortgage then the clause suspensive (suspensive clause) on your Compromis de Vente comes into play: your deposit will be returned to you if you cannot finance your purchase with a French lender in the allotted time.

9) If you are not financing your purchase with a mortgage, then skip to point 10. If you are, then it’s time to send back your mortgage approval documents to the Notaire.

10) The Notaire will now draw up the deeds of sale and arrange a date for you to sign for your new property in Nice. You may do this from a distance by giving the Notaire Power of Attorney to sign on your behalf but it is far more fun to do it in person! You will be given the keys on signing day. We can then assist with renting your new property, finding a local builder or simply wish you all the best with your new place in Nice.